I Don’t Want to Wait Anymore

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Waiting to find an agent, waiting to find a publisher, waiting….waiting…waiting. I am so sick of waiting. Why am I a waiting? Because it’s the traditional way to accomplish my goals? Why am I putting my goals in someone else’s hands to deny?

No, I don’t want to wait anymore. I want to move forward. I stare at this mountain of work before me as I realize that I don’t want to wait for someone to hand me my dreams. It’s a mountain, like an Everest size mountain. Good thing I recently started rock climbing, I GOT THIS!

I want to self publish my book series. I don’t want to wait for an agent, or a publisher, or anyone but the work it will take me to complete this task. And lordy is it going to take some work. I have the time though, and I am willing to put in the effort. Today I started on Chapter 1 of Book 2. The story is in the works! There is no reason not to start the process of getting Book 1 out into the ether!

More than any else I want to share this story. I want you to see what I have been talking about for all these years. It’s been many years of working, waiting, hoping, fingers-crossed, and many many denials and rejections. At this point….too many to count. I don’t want to give up, I won’t, I can’t. Instead, I am going to choose a different path. I am going to take it upon myself to get my book out there.

I can do this. I know I can! And I hope you are willing to share in this journey with me as I adventure into the unknown. Let’s do this friends……. to SELF PUBLISHING!!!!!!!!

 

You put WHAT in your Pancakes!?!

A good portion of my family is from Texas and Minnesota. I always associated pork rinds with living on a farm land or living in the center of cowboy-ville. I’m not really sure why though because I never actually saw any of my family members eating any pork rinds….so maybe a cliche book reference?

In the last three months of really trying to get into the full swing of a keto kitchen I have stumbled upon the amazing uses of pork rinds. From replacing crackers and any dip conduit to putting in my mac n cheese and then to top it off, IN MY PANCAKES! Yes, that’s right, this morning I made pancakes out of pork rinds. Is your mind exploding to!?

I saw the recipe in my keto book and laughed. I already very much love pork rinds now having found the delightfully almost tasteless crunchy product a treat. I have even found it in multiple flavors! But putting them in my pancakes seems a bit weird…right? I thought so too. However, I am determined to stick to this food plan, so I went ahead and made them. I won’t lie, I was full of doubt.

I opened my handy keto book and saw the list of ingredients and I laughed out loud. “I’m supposed to make pancakes with PORK RINDS!?!” I laughed, shook my head, and then tossed my fate up to the keto gods and said, “Alright. Let’s do this!”

First you grind up the pork rinds, add in the cinnamon, and the baking powder. This is your base of dry ingredients.

Second, you mix your eggs, coconut milk, swerve granulated sugar, vanilla extract, and coconut oil.

Mix it all together and you have a very thick pancake mix. Yes, at this point I was still VERY SKEPTICAL. But I will admit, I was starting to get really hungry and this mix is delightfully sweet smelling.

Adding some coconut oil to the pan, I added in a 1/2 cup of the mixture into a pan and hoped that this would turn out better than the pumpkin pancakes I forced the kids to eat a couple of weeks ago. 20180816_102324

Once of my biggest annoyances when making healthier pancakes is that the batter doesn’t hold together very well when you flip them over. That was not the case with these pancakes!! They were solid and bubbled up perfectly.

After cooking up the batch of pancakes I made the topping. Again, I was skeptical! The topping for these little cakes is a mixture of almond butter and coconut oil. Now I love almond butter, but I wasn’t sure how the mixture with the pork rinds would taste.

I have never been more pleasantly surprised as I was after making this recipe. Check out the beautiful finished product!

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I added a bit of cinnomon on top for additional flair 🙂 But the best part, check out this CRUMB SHOT!!!!

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These little cakes were delightfully fluffy and full of flavor. They have a hearty oat taste to them actually. Mix that with the cinnamon and the almond butter and it was a more than surprising fantastic breakfast. The overall nutritional details on these cakes are also impressive!

Serving size: 2 cakes
Cals: 885
total fat: 71.3 g
carbs: 8.1g
sugars: 2.2g
protein: 52.8g

Now I couldn’t possibly take credit for this recipe as it’s not mine 🙂 I merely review the recipes I find most incredible. If there are any other recipes you are afraid to try or haven’t been able to find a great recipe for something I am happy to be the guinea pig! If you want to get the full details of this recipe and how to make it check out a book called THE KETO DIET: The complete guide to a high fat diet
By: Leanne Vogel

I bought this book on Amazon, but you can get it almost anywhere.
#theketodiet #leannevogel #keto #ketolover #ketofoodreview #ketokitchen

The Wonders of High Fat

This is a quick on, but something I think worth sharing. Yesterday after only eating my Flaxseed muffins and a cold brew coffee with a splash of half n’ half, I was set for the day! I didn’t eat dinner until 7pm and I have to admit…I wasn’t really all that hungry. I was no where NEAR hangry like I would normally be.

So far, I haven’t yet stepped into Keto flu, which I am very much hoping to avoid. I have been out of keto for over a month, so I do believe the flu will strike. Fingers crossed that it won’t hit as hard as it did last time.

Today however being my third day back in it, I am already at a 1.0 mL reading on my ketones reader. That is GREAT! I am already back in the swing in just a couple of days of eating right. I will keep you updated on my progress, but for the moment things are really looking GOOD!

Now, you might be thinking….Jess, when did you get all into talking about your health and what you are eating? Well, I decided that my life isn’t just about my book and what I am working on, it’s also about my ups and downs and struggles to maintain the lifestyle we all want. A healthy lifestyle 🙂 I am going to get there, and I am going to show you the easier path so you don’t make the same mistakes I did.

Step #1, alcohol will kill even the best intentions of maintaining a healthy diet. It sucks but it’s true.

Time for me to prep for lunch and then off to do some bouldering.

#livingthelife #ohgoclimbarock #bouldering #girlstheclimb

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When You Have Time….You Keto

When you give a woman with a desire to make things time off from work, what does she do?! She MAKES THINGS!! And GETS SHIAT DONE! She also makes the time to eat right, and that means that I am going 100% full force back into eating Keto.

What an amazing thing time is, and when you have it to do what you want. I am now not only able to focus on my fitness, but I am also able to actually MAKE my breakfast. This is a novel concept as I haven’t been able to make a fresh breakfast, outside of my microwave omelette, in a VERY long time. Being a Keto eater is HARD when you don’t have time to prep food. And I know what most people would say, “Prep on Sunday.” I have to say, by the time I get to Wednesday, the food I made Sunday is limp, slimy and turning. And I’m a hot food, fresh sides kind of breakfast eater.

Today I am making Flaxseed Cinnamon Muffins! They are SUPER tasty with a pat of butter on them, and they are insanely dense. I recently got this book from Leanne Vogle, THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO A HIGH FAT DIET.  I have to say, this girl really knows her stuff, but also she really understands the difficulty of transitioning your lifestyle to be a high fat diet.

I came across some amazing facts in her book that I feel should be shouted from the roof top. As I sit here and eat my keto cinnamon muffin, I think about the people I have come across that looked at me with skeptic eyes when I said that a high fat diet is good for you and the cholesterol is NOT the enemy. So in the mindset of Keto Pay-it-Forward I will give you some snippets of keto enlightenment!

  1. MYTH: Fat makes you fat. There is something very simple to note with this amazing myth. Body fat is created when excess carbohydrates need to be stored. Also, by eating more dietary fat you can actually help your body lose weight. You eat less when you feel full, and let me tell you, eating a full fat diet you eat less quantity because the food is dense. Fat keeps you satiated, no more 3pm hunger pangs because the limp salad of greens and low fat dressing didn’t do diddly squat to satiate your hunger. The best part of eating high fat is is that is allows for a better balance of hormones such as estrogen and testosterone.
  2. MYTH: Cholesterol is bad for you. Sorry but this is so very wrong. It isn’t the Cholestrol that is the problem. I would first ask (because I actually didn’t know myself) what cholesterol does for your body and do we need it. Cholesterol is actually essential for many bodily functions. It’s needed to make sex hormones, and it repairs damaged cells and maintains the integrity of the cell to extend cell life. It transfers nutrients to the brain to protect from dementia and it maintains the the integrity of the intestinal tract. Main point, cholesterol is very important. Without it we would die. Interesting fact about cholesterol, most of what we eat can’t be absorbed. About 25% of the cholesterol in our body comes from what we eat and 75% is synthesized by the body. Eating more dietary cholesterol has little effect on our cholesterol levels.

These muffins are delightful…with a side of Cold Brew with half ‘n half…PERFECTION. I got the recipe and fun myth facts from Leanne Vogel in her book The Keto Diet. I’ll be back with more fun facts and keto tips soon!

 

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Open Your Own Door

There have been several times in my life where I have felt stuck. I was stuck in a crappy job with no upward trajectory. I was stuck in a horrible relationship with a man who treated me like I was a nuisance while he emotionally pushed me around like a rag doll. All of the difficult moments in my life where I felt stuck all had one thing in common; I had to wait for a door to open in order to escape.

For the first time in my life I opened my own door to a better future. I didn’t just open the door, I ran to it full speed and kicked it down with every ounce of strength I had. I was stuck in a very emotionally draining job and it took way more from me than I was willing to give. I know most of us would hear the advice of, “Don’t give up, keep pushing harder until you get what you want.” Or, “Don’t let them see how much it bothers you, keep your head down and just keep going. It will get better.” But I have to say, I disagree with this 100%.

I worked at a company that overall is a great company, but I found it to be the most emotionally draining position I have ever been in. The work wasn’t harder or worse than any other job I have done, it was more about the day to day struggle to accomplish the load of work piled before me. It’s not ok when you feel like you not only can never succeed but are also always feeling as though you are being thrown under the bus. I would never say anything negative about the people I worked with because in truth they are all incredible people. But when it’s not working for you and you know the role is not the right fit, you have to move onward.

Two weeks ago I submitted my two weeks notice with every intention to leave my current job without any job to move on to. It was a rough final two weeks, but the decision to move on without anything to secure me an income  was the best decision I could have made. I didn’t wait for the changes to come my way, I didn’t hope that someone could save me or make it better. I made the move to make my life better, I created my own change.

I can’t wait for what my future holds, there are so many possibilities. The world is now at my fingertips and I GET TO CHOOSE the path I will take. Looking forward to the next adventure!

Blunt Talk: Why won’t it work for me?

Most of what I write on here are some what related to my writing. I am realizing that I am removing a vast portion of my personal internal battles, discussions, and concerns that makes me all around….more personable with you.

Here’s a big Blunt Talk conversation: I have been struggling to lose weight. I don’t feel happy in my own skin. It’s frustrating to look at other people that easily walk around in a trim healthy body, eating pizza and carbs and sugar without a worry about it. No this isn’t me saying this because of what society tells me I need to look like, I don’t feel COMFORTABLE in my own body. If I felt good and comfortable being a size 12 then great! If I was a size 20 and happy as a clam, great! But I am not comfortable and it has nothing to do with the mindset of what people in the world find beautiful. It’s not about being beautiful either. I don’t feel comfortable. That is the problem.

This is a strange thing to feel. I sit down and I feel like I have to much weight around my middle, I can feel my thighs touch way too much when I walk in a dress. I know you must be thinking, “Jess, you aren’t obese, what are you talking about?” Funny you should say that. According to a very popular health site, for my height and my weight I am considered overweight. One the other hand, I don’t feel like I am seen as an overweight person. Perhaps I hide it well, or perhaps for typical standards of what over weight is, I am not considered that. I however, don’t care about any of that. I just feel uncomfortable.

Here’s the thing. I am one of those people that likes to know how things work. I was the annoying student in math class that would ask why to every equation. “Yes, but why does it work like that? I don’t want to just know how to do the equation, I want to know how it works!” My whole life I was told to do cardio, eat a balanced diet, and stay away from simple sugar. Here’s the problem though, SUGAR IS IN EVERYTHING practically. What doesn’t work for me is the 1 hour of treadmill cardio every day. It did absolutely nothing for me. And the all around healthy balanced diet….I gained weight! I know, people will say, “Well you did it wrong then.” Yep, that could be it. But that isn’t my point. My point is that everyone is different and you have to figure out what works best for you! I haven’t yet figured this out….and I am almost 32 years old. I still have no idea how my metabolism works and why when everyone else is losing weight when we are on a diet and work out plan, I seem to gain weight. No….it’s not just gaining muscle…I gain FAT! I hate when people say that. I have been working out pretty consistently (at least 3-5 days a week) for the last year and a half. There is no “you are in the gaining muscle” phase that will keep me from losing weight. I have fat that I need to lose while I continue to gain the muscle. That is the fact.

So in a mindset of everyone is different, I have been searching relentlessly for what works for me. I stumbled onto the keto diet and felt that I should give it a go. I didn’t do enough research though….mistake #1 and I started gaining weight again.  I was dumbfounded. Everyone else I have heard that goes on a keto diet loses fat like melting butter in a pan….one minute it’s there and the next it’s gone! Not for me. I put on weight, and I feel it. Remember, not everyone is the same. And for me, I need to adjust to suit my needs that will allow me to live a healthy life. Mistake #2, I kept drinking alcohol 1-2 times per week. BIG. FAT. NO NO!

What I honestly learned in the last few months of trying a new diet and struggling to see what will work:
1) We have to give up what we love in order to gain a lifestyle that we never had before. I have always had a lot of fruit, alcohol, coffee and desserts in my life. And I expected a change in my life if I kept all the things I wanted while working really hard for the things I had never had before. This is a problem. I can’t succeed without sacrifice, and it’s something that is really hard to come to terms with.
2) Not everyone can handle carbs. Not everyone can eat dairy. Not everyone can eat meat. We are all different and tailoring your diet to fit your needs is probably the hardest things any of us can do (unless you are a trained dietitian….and even then it’s a game to see what will work). We eat food in hopes that we will get the nutrients and benefits from it like that one person on the amazon review page did…but it doesn’t always work that way. Just because they were able to see results, doesn’t mean you will too. It takes a lot of trial and error…more error than results in my personal opinion but when you do find it, it will be like gold!
3) Don’t give up. Whatever you do, don’t give up. I know it’s hard, I know you feel like you have no other options and there is nothing you can do that will work, but trust me….giving up is not the option.

I am struggling with my own day to day issues, but we all have our things that keep us from feeling like we are on top of our own world. Don’t let your down times keep you back from reaching your goals. You can do this, and no matter how hard it is, it will be worth it when you achieve them.

One day, I will be sitting on a beach or beside a pool wearing a bikini and I will think to myself….I worked so hard for this. And I will sip on my bubbly water and crunch on some celery knowing that hard work and determination is what got me there.

What are your goals and struggles to obtain them? I say, it’s always easier to keep going when you have an army of support.

Blunt Talk: Late Night Pondering

There is something very sexy and alluring about a smiling man wearing a suit in a black and white photo. Not a color photo, that’s just nice, maybe even a bit boring. Black and white, and suddenly you have a breath taking battle. Dramatic slices of light battling against the forever strong shadow. Perhaps it’s the contrast. The blatant truth of light and dark. It’s intriguing, it’s alluring, and hot damn it’s sexy!

Red Sparrow: An Upfront Book Review

I don’t often review or give my opinion on books that I am reading, or poems I find moving but I do feel that I read enough to start doing this for you…my lovely readers 🙂 Not so much to rant about my opinion, though I might if something really pinches a nerve in my system. More because I want to share when I find things that move me, when I find amazing artwork in the manipulation of words that I can’t help but share them.

Right now I am listening to (because I live in Los Angeles and listening to books is the only way I can “read” when trying to manage the traffic and the hum of city life) Red Sparrow because I’m one of those people that detest seeing a movie before I read the book. I feel as though there are few…and I mean very few….movies that outshine the book. I can discuss that another day.

I am listening to Red Sparrow, written by Jason Matthews read by Jeremy Bobb. I have to say, Jeremy’s voice leaves a lot to be desired in terms of engagement, but the more I listen to him the more his tone matches the mood of the story. I don’t mean that in a bad way at all, his voice succinctly matches the stark straight line of the implication of danger within this book. It reminds me of the serious moments in The Iron Druid Chronicles (another book series I am in love with). Luke Daniels’s (I have such a crush on his voice!) voice would hit this lower octave that just screamed danger and intrigue. Red Sparrow has danger and intrigue in spades.

I’m not sure how Jennifer Lawrence will play out this role, or if she will fill the shoes of the character Dominika Egorova, but I am excited to see how she pulls it off. I am a lover of Jennifer Lawrence ever since Winter’s Bone. Yes, I do believe she was a little flat and uninteresting in The Hunger Games but let’s be honest, so was Katniss in the book. If you have little to work with (Bella Swan….amirite?!) then I would say there is little to do to make it a moving work of art.

Red Sparrow has my ear, and I won’t lie, it’s quite dense and yet easy to listen to. I was in the store listening to Chapter three while I was in the self check out line and I caught myself standing there like an idiot as Matthews wove an intricate ladder of importance within the Russian intelligence agency. Names and positions flew like crazy and then I realized I had been standing there for three minutes without moving and the woman in line behind me buying shampoo was shooting sparks of annoyance in my direction. The story and the set up of Red Sparrow is great, but wait until you get into the meat of the story.

This is a good one, and I’m not even done with the book yet! If you had any questions on if you should read this, the best note is that I am 7 chapters in and needing to tell you that this is MOST DEFINITELY a book to read before you see the movie. I have a sneaking suspicion that like most dense novels, a lot of the opening and elegance of creation of the characters will be obliterated in the movie to get to good stuff. I don’t really care, I want to see this on the big screen to see the beautiful execution of this intense mystery thriller.

I have to say also, that this isn’t my typical go to genre for a good read, but I couldn’t help myself. I did fall in love with the Jason Bourne series and ever since then I have found a good spy mystery thriller to be the type of adventure that is right up my ally.

UPDATES:

This book is indeed quite dense and incredibly described. There are so many details about the CIA, the Russian secret service, all linked and tied together in a jumbled mess of who knows what and who will be caught. It’s a slow burn, but a good one. I highly recommend this book when you have serious attention to give. It’s not a great one for random reading. I found I’d forget where I was at times and had to reread if I was slightly distracted. Also the Russian names are a bit hard to follow (then again I am listening to this audio book, so that makes a difference). Overall this is a great spy thriller, and the end is a great wrap up of the details.

I Need More Time

I have to say that if there is one thing I am struggling with the most right now is finding enough time. I have a very intense schedule, though I am sure it could get worse, I am absolutely struggling with it right now. Here are the things I am TRYING to complete within my week:

  • Meal prep for the week
  • Working out 5 days a week
  • Work – about 50 hours per week on average
  • Dinner prep at night with my husband
  • 1 night / week with my girl to get her caught up on West World and Game of thrones
  • Writing book 2 of my book series
  • Sending a query to literary agents 3x per week
  • sleep
  • quality time with my husband
  • quality time with my kids
  • quality time with my dog
  • cleaning the house
  • every day hygiene
  • friends time to ensure I maintain good friendships

That is a good amount to fit into a week. And I manage to for the most part but there are times that I feel absolutely exhausted by the end of the week. There are additional things that shove into my time and demand my attention. It feels impossible at times.

Right now I think that there is a limit for balance. I am trying to balance sleep/ working out and meal prep/ quality people time/ work. Which makes me frustrated when I want to work on my book or engage readers on my blog.  I am trying to just make more time….which for the most part means less sleep. And I LOVE sleep.

I am in a tunnel and there is no extra space to push more into my day. Does anyone else have this problem? I feel like I am absolutely struggling with everything.

Outside of the sad face moment here, St. Patrick’s Day yesterday was AMAZING! And I think I might have had more food last night that the last two thanksgivings. I am so not joking. This was just the beginning to the evening. Yes that is Lucky Charm pie, and yes it was so worth the 2 hours it took me to make. YUMMY!

Did anyone else have an incredible St Patrick’s Day?!

 

How the heck do I write a synopsis!?

Last night I spent pretty much….all night working on my synopsis. It was one of those nights where I knew I wouldn’t be able to get it perfect but I needed to get it done. This is a great exercise even if it doesn’t get me the agent.

I started with a 1,300 word synopsis and wanted to cry thinking, “How am I going to get this down to 700 words?!” It was 10pm, I had to wake up at 7am. I had 10 hours to complete this. Ha! That’s hilarious, because I am one of those that needs SLEEP!

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By 1 am I was at 698 words. I couldn’t believe it. I have a synopsis. Is this the final synopsis, no probably not. But I am making progress and that is what counts right now. Tomorrow I am going to be sending my manuscript and synopsis to the agent and will cross my fingers that I will hear back from her.

Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. Either way, this has been a very exciting moment in my my writing life. One I will never forget, one that will keep me going!

Now….perhaps I should stop making changes to the edit. Hehehe….